Widnes captain Mike Burke looking to use 2021-22 campaign as a ‘springboard’ after turn around

Michael Burke celebrates after opening the scoring against Prescot Cables for Widnes.

Widnes captain Mike Burke has taken positives from their debut season under Dave Dempsey as they turned around their fortunes following his appointment.

The former Runcorn Linnets midfielder was appointed as the new head coach in September as they sat in an imperious position in the bottom three.

Burke himself endured a game in charge as he took control on a temporary basis after Steve Akrigg and Kev Towey stepped down from their positions at Widnes.

The imposing defender struggled in the early part of the season through injury but as he regained full fitness he became integral to the spine that Dempsey was moulding together.

Widnes’ turnaround saw them finish just outside the top half of the table, finishing their season with a run of goalless draws.

Reviewing the previous campaign, Burke told Off The Park: “I think the start of the season was quite frustrating on a personal level and the group. I thought we had enough defensive players and with the spine of the team, I really felt the spine of the team was nice and solid and give it a good go.

“From a personal view, I got injured a week or two before the season started so I didn’t actually start playing until the back end of September. Even being injured, you still felt the spine of the team and the lads in the team were good and worthy enough to get us off to a good start but it didn’t quite pan out like that.

“We picked up three points in the first eight, nine games and for the group of players we had at the start just wasn’t good enough. That led to both Kev and Ste cutting ties with the club – which is unfortunate, they got the club promoted into the Northern Premier League, they’d given everything.

“But sometimes, things need refreshing up and that happened with Demps coming on board and the position that we were in, second-third from bottom, we just needed that bounce. That certainly happened with Dave’s appointment. From then on in, the intensity and dynamics changed and a lot of lads left.

“Large majority of the squad had been turned over and it was going to take a bit of time to get a settled squad but once we had that, around Christmas time, going into the New Year we had a good group. Demps recruited extremely well, the players he’s brought in and that group of players that we finished with was something else in my opinion. Hopefully with that group of players with one or two additions, we can springboard and really kick on next season.”

[Featured image: 617 Photography]

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